Have trouble making every day productive?
We all have days when we just can’t get started. We don’t feel motivated, don’t have the energy to find motivation, or there are a myriad of things that keep getting in the way of ‘real’ work. The final result? We are ‘busy’ the whole day but don’t get anything done.
And at the end of the day, we are left with a horrible unsatisfied feeling of not having accomplished what we set out to do and worse, now all the tasks we didn’t get to are still on our plate for tomorrow and so on. This is the beginning of being overwhelmed. If this goes on for even a few days, the mountain of things to do goes beyond unmanageable.
Contrast that with being productive every single day.
Of having an overall game plan for the week, an overall task list for each day and then actually getting through every task, every day, in record time. Bliss!!
A great time management tool that could help with this is the 60-60-30 method which is explained in this video below, but the most critical factor is your own discipline and determination.
Here are the 3 steps to get that in place and they work all the time, every time.
1. Put the most onerous tasks first
Take the biggest task of the day. It could either be big in terms of time consuming, or detail oriented or just something you are dreading having to do. Put that on the top of your list and make a commitment to yourself that you will not look at anything else until it’s done. Not that 2nd cup of coffee, not catching up with a co-worker, not making another phone call. Nope. No distractions till that is off the list.
2. Put a time limit on it’s completion.
It will help greatly to break it down into it’s components. No matter what the task is, once you chunk it down, it gets less intimidating. Then you can tell yourself, Oh! This will actually only take an hour,” or whatever minimum time it could realistically take. Take a bet with yourself that you will do it in the time you set. What happens is that regardless of how long it actually takes, this kind of thinking motivates you into tackling what needs doing with the greatest efficiency and enthusiasm you have at your disposal, so you will surprise yourself at how smoothly and effortlessly you complete it.
3. Put a reward at the end of it.
Before you begin, also consider what is the payoff for completing all the things on your to-do list, beginning with not having to bump them to tomorrow. A super way to boost your own efficiency and make sure you stick to your list faithfully is to reward yourself for condensing the time to completion. This will also re-frame your to-do list in a very good light – instead of it being a drudgery list, it becomes a boundary line of work to complete ie, once you have worked through that list, you are free and clear to enjoy yourself.
This has the wonderful side effect of stopping you from being a workaholic. So once your list is done, that’s it you are done for the day. If you can do an entire days worth of work in four hours, guess what? You get half a day off to do as you please. No isn’t that a fantastic incentive?
At the end of your list include this sentence to be completed as you choose: Once these tasks are over I can…
read a good book, go to lunch with a friend, take the afternoon off etc.
Follow this system for 4 weeks and this way of working will become a habit. At that point, you can extend it to days, weeks, months. The bottom line is this: if you can complete the work you need to get done in shortest amount of time, in the most effective way, the time you save can be filled with a host of other things life can offer you. Hobbies, learning, fun with friends or just downtime to rest and relax.
This is the way it’s s’posed to be.
Have fresh insights on how to make sure every day is productive? Add them in the comments box 🙂